A crumbling institution




This letter is not about the stubborn, antagonistic nitpicking of the Rogue Sierra Club. It is also not about the irresponsible, childish bickering and ridiculous financial decisions of the Ashland City Council.




This letter is about a group of individuals that are more stubborn, irresponsible, and childish than either of the aforementioned groups. As a longtime resident of Ashland and a dedicated patron of Mt. Ashland for 17 seasons, I am appalled and ashamed at the attitude and actions of the Mt. Ashland Association. I have seen the concept of expanding of our awesome little mountain go from optimistic idealism to all-out war over the course of the last decade, and it saddens me to see what the opposing sides in the issue have reduced themselves to. I used to be in full support of the expansion.




When Mt. Ashland was on the verge of bankruptcy, this community came together to save it. I saved my allowance for six weeks (not easy for a ten-year-old) and donated it to the Save Mt. Ashland Fund.




Well, the time has come for us to save our mountain once again. Not from foreclosure, and not even from environmental degradation, but from the people who claim to represent our community's ownership of the lease itself. I can't tell if it is ignorance, indifference, or just plain idiocy that has driven the MAA and the mountain's new management to the position they have taken.




We have all seen the fight in court, the media's take on it, heard from both sides. What we haven't heard is the most basic truth of all: Mt. Ashland is not ready for an expansion. It does not have the infrastructure in place to support more skiers. Even if the MAA somehow wins their battle in the courts (which they probably won't), there aren't enough parking spaces, groomers, or snowmobiles. There aren't enough lockers or tables in the lodge. The lodge itself and the rental facilities are out-dated, and the ski patrol is under-equipped. And all of this is as the mountain stands right now!




On top of it all, while the MAA preaches of new runs and chairs, the lifts that we have fall further and further into disrepair. Hardly a single day goes by that the Ariel chair runs all the way through from open to close without breaking down at least once (if it runs at all), leaving skiers and riders stranded for up to hours. The Windsor chair isn't much better. Comer ran on diesel for weeks last season because of electrical problems. We are not ready to expand this mountain!




We have to replace our dying chairlifts, rebuild our lodge, expand our parking, and take steps to accommodate the over-crowding of the facilities that we have before we can even bring expansion into the discussion. Our patrons and our patrollers are not even in the same building!




The MAA either somehow doesn't know all of this, or is ignoring the fact that Mt. Ashland is practically held together with spare parts and duct tape. And, as our exciting, unique, fun, and increasingly frustrating ski area slowly crumbles around us, we are now being told that we can't ski and ride on Mondays and Tuesdays, arguably two of the best days to be on the hill [Mondays have now been reinstated according to Mt. Ashland officials].




The weekend warriors that are the financial mainstay of Mt. Ashland's customer base don't care about Mondays and Tuesdays. The people that are utterly cheated by this closure, though, are the people who care the most about the welfare of the mountain: Locals. Not only do we lose 25 percent of total riding time, and about half of our quality mid-week snow, but we're also asked to keep dishing out more and more dollars every year for season passes.




It's ludicrous to pay $525 for a mountain that is essentially two-and-a half out-moded chairlifts and only open five days a week. Shasta passes are almost hundreds less, and they have more acres and more chairs. A pass at Bachelor is twice as much, but their mountain is has five times the chairs and ten times the acreage.




And now, the MAA is once again asking the community to open their checkbooks to the tune of $1 million to cover the legal expenses they never had the money for to begin with.




We locals suffer so that the MAA can improve their bottom line and save a few more dollars for an expansion that will never happen, and that less and less people want. The MAA and the new management are not acting in the best interest of Mt. Ashland, it's employees, it's patrons, or the people in this community that depend on them to represent us as the "shareholders" in this operation. If they continue on the path that they are on, in a few years we won't be talking about expanding. We'll be talking about doing what Eric Navickas and the Sierra Club wanted from the outset. We'll be faced with closing down for good.




Aaron Goldman




MARA Coach and die-hard Mt. Ashlander









Disgruntled customer




A company named BroadbandOffers.com advertises free modems for signing up for high speed internet service. I signed up with Charter, ordered an $86 modem from Motorola, recieved it, sent in the bar code, invoice, and first month's bill from Charter, (as requested) within the amount of time required.




After 5 months of not receiving my rebate, I began bugging them to receive the $86 they owe me. They merely respond with form emails stating that my rebate had been denied. They WILL NOT address my questions of WHY my rebate has been denied.




They are running the same "come-on" for the month of October.




I want the world to know that this is a scam and not to deal with them. I also want to hold them accountable for my $86. Any suggestions?




They have many complaints listed with the Better Business Bureau so beware and don't make the same mistake I made.




Elizabeth Snyder




Talent




Fulltime counseling may be cheaper




I know that it is a little late, but with the benefit of the Tidings series, I am compelled to drive another spike in this goofy idea.




It is simply mind-boggling to me that the council, with little, if any, public discussion, is spending $37,000 for what are accurately called therapy sessions to acquaint council members with principles of conduct that you are supposed to learn in the 4th grade. Or, to put it another way to teach people to be courteous and to get along with one another.




Beyond these basics there is something called "Roberts Rules of Order" that are supposed to govern council meetings. Putting these rules into effect is what chairpersons are for. $25.00 should cover purchase of a copy for each council member and the chair.




And beyond Roberts Rules, when council members start cussing, using delay tactics and have shadow meetings, as noted in the Tidings, then it is the function of the chair to get involved and especially to let the public know what is going on.




Somehow it doesn't seem to have been noticed that in all of the years of the council existence such an expenditure has never before been deemed necessary.




Presumably, with each new council member and at each election another series of meetings for similar expenditure would be needed. It might be cheaper to hire a full-time psychologist.




Harry L. Cook